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Mayor Karen Bass Appoints New Homelessness Czar


Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has appointed Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez as the new top advisor on homelessness. 

The current homeless czar, Mercedes Marquez is being replaced due to “federal retiree rules.” 

Who is Lourdes Castro Ramirez? 

Prior to her appointment as homelessness czar, Governor Newsom selected Ramirez to be the Secretary of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. 

As Secretary, she has expanded rental and housing opportunities and has put billions towards homelessness solutions. 

As homelessness czar, she will play a major role in streamlining housing efforts, expanding the success of Inside Safe, and assisting with rental assistance. 

Mercedes Marquez will stay on board as an advisor to assist Mayor Bass and Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez in transition. 

Homelessness in Los Angeles 

Despite Mayor Bass and the City of Los Angeles having success in getting those experiencing homelessness off of the streets, the unhoused population has still grown in the city. 

In the 2023 homelessness count, homelessness grew by 10% in the City of LA. While it was not an improvement, it does show that the growth is slowing down. In other major cities such as Chicago and Portland, the growth was much larger, with homelessness increasing by a respective 57% and 20%. 

While there is still work to do to solve homelessness, it is clear that Los Angeles has a template that is somewhat working. 

We’ll make sure to update you on the work of the new homelessness advisor Lourdes Castro Ramirez. 

Until then, keep up with BOMA on the Frontline for the latest news in the greater Los Angeles area. 

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